Duct Tape Placemats

This was something found by default. A link from a link off a pin. Fun, right? Tony and I picked up some fun duct tape for the kids a few weeks ago. Avengers for Arthur and Minnie Mouse for Chiara. We had some crazy ideas on how to use it, but we never did anything with them. Today I was picking up some duct tape for a separate project. It was decidedly girly, so Chiara has claimed it. Looking through assorted links, I stumbled on this.

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You start by getting 2 types of duct tape that work well together. I had the Avengers stuff and the industrial gray stuff. The original directions say to use 2″ duct tape, mine was only 1 1/2″ so I adjusted accordingly. Feel free to check the original site for those directions, I’m just going to post what I did.
For the strips that will run length wise, cut strips 40″ long. Once it’s cut, fold it in half, so there is no sticky-ness exposed. Easier said than done.

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After some trial and error, and destroyed strips, the easiest way I found to do this was taking the far right end in your left hand, hold the center with your right hand and fold over while matching the ends. Whatever you do, do not try holding the ends together in the air and press together! It doesn’t work!

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You’re going to make 6 of the length wise strips that are the 40″, folded in half, so you have 20″ strips. You’re going to make 9 strips that are 28″, then fold them in half so you end up with 14″ strips.
The original directions say to tape your length wise pieces to your work surface to hold everything in place. I prefer a challenge, so I just started doing my basket weave.

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You’re going to keep weaving until you end up with a mat, rough around the edges, yes, but we’ll fix that!
Make sure you tighten everything up, possibly using a little clear tape, so you don’t leave any gaps for food to leak through. Once you have everything tightly woven together, take more of your duct tape, or a contrasting tape, and lay a strip long enough to cover the entire length of the mat. Lay it so it is sticky side up, and lay your rough mat edges over the tape. Cut another piece the same length and lay it over the edges, sticky side down. There you are, edges concealed!

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Here is the other finished product. I was really happy with how these turned out. Arthur was really excited about his new placemat and Chiara was almost too wound up to sleep when I told her I was making her one. The best thing about all of it? With all the fun duct tape choices there are now, there is an infinite number of possibilities!
Happy weaving!
Original directions came from http://m.voices.yahoo.com/contemporary-placemat-craft-project-duct-tape-place-214780.html

Stop a Sneeze? Not Really!

This was something that, while not particularly blog-worthy, was hilarious when I tried this today. I love those little pins that list a bunch of little life-hacks. Just for the record, this is a term I have never heard before I discovered Pinterest and it’s hilarious reading them.
I have my own way to make other people stop before sneezing, one that works about 90% of the time. When I see someone building up to sneeze, I very loudly and quickly say, “Think of lettuce, leafy green and sometimes red!” It sounds stupid, but I’m telling you, it works! Usually, because it’s said so fast, they stop sneezing and say “What?”
Sadly, this only works on other people, not on myself. The pinner of life hacks says that if you feel a sneeze coming on, press your tongue to the roof of your mouth and it will stop the sneeze.
Tried and failed. I looked ridiculous too! I would never tell someone not to try something, but this was a fail from my perspective.
I will however stamd behind lettuce thing. Remember: loud and fast. It confuses people and distracts them from their sneeze!
Original pin and many other life hacks can be found at http://themetapicture.com/amazing-life-hacks/

Bottlecap Magnets

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I’ve actually done something similar to this shortly after I began blogging. We started, inadvertently, collecting bottlecaps awhile ago when we hung up the bottle opener Marlboro sent me as a birthday present. I hung a basket under it so Tony didn’t have to keep catching them to throw them away. It’s been working great!

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I have always loved repurposing things, and I’ve discovered many new ways to do so through Pinterest.
I also have a great love of putting pictures up around the house! You start by finding some pictures that have a small focal point, like a face or an animal that is 1″ or less in size. The original pinner said to use a 1″ punch-out, but my supplies don’t run to such things, so I just used scissors. If it’s not a perfect circle, that’s fine! Once your picture is small enough to fit in your bottlecap, pour a small amount of mod podge into the cap and press your picture down. Make sure the picture is fully covered.

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Don’t worry, your picture will be invisible until it dries. It’s supposed to be like that! The original pinner says to use glue to adhere the picture to the bottlecap, then cover with a glaze. I used mod podge on my previous bottlecap project and that turned out great. Check out those results at https://superstevied.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/cute-little-doo-dad/
Once you have your picture under your layer of mod podge, you’ll have to let it sit, at least overnight, to dry. Once it’s fully dried, so you can see your picture again, cut your magnets to fit the back of your bottlecap. I know the next time I do this, I’m going to buy the heavy duty round magnets so I can use these to hold up assorted items on the fridge.
For now, I can’t wait to see the kids reaction to these magnets in the morning!
Original pin came from http://doitdarling.com/2013/03/02/fridge-magnets-out-of-bottle-caps/

Tu Me Manques

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I took five years of French in school. I’m primarily French and German descent, and let’s be honest, German is such a harsh sounding language. I took a year of that too, but French just rolls off the tongue and sounds beautiful. Ten years after high school, the conversational stuff has stuck with me, but I have a few sweet and romantic phrases I’ve learned for random occasions.
Normally, ‘I miss you’ doesn’t sound super sweet. Depending who is saying it, it can be annoying. I’ve always found translating phrases from English to another language, then back again, mildly amusing. Seriously, go to Google translate, and type in key phrases from the national anthem and see what happens.
However, if you translate ‘I miss you’ to French, you get ‘tu me manques’. When it translates back, you get ‘you are missing from me’.
I know that that invokes all kinds of romantic ideas. True love, forever love. How sweet!
Whenever I think of this phrase though, I think of my baby brother. My baby brother, Joshua, is about to be 27. He’s a Marine and an all around great guy. He’s a typical guy, in that he doesn’t talk on the phone much, and these days I’m lucky to get a weekly email!
When I first moved out, I was living with or near people who were all but family, so I missed him, but not as actively. Since he joined the Marines, he’s been away to boot camp, completed a tour in Japan and is about to come home from Afghanistan. These days I can’t help but think about my little brother.
Growing up, we fought, not constantly, but pretty consistently. We were also each other’s best friend. Being an army brat, you learn to make friends quickly, but no one is a more constant friend than a sibling.
He’s been my friend from Kentucky, where we were born, to Ohio, the last time we lived under the same roof. He’s still my friend, but the distance sucks.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit down and think, gee, I really miss Josh, but every once in a while, it’ll hit me.
That’s why the phrase resonates with me. I do miss him, but once in a while, it feels like he is missing from me.
Original pin on this one takes you to a weird site, but feel free to check out the lovely and original pin on my board INTERESTING, just look me up under Stephanie DeSantis

Popsicle Bow and Arrow

I’ve been excited to try this one for awhile now, but I was doomed to disappointment. You start with popsicle sticks, dental floss, a sharp knife and q-tips.
You cut 4 small notches into your popsicle stick, 2 on each end. Once you have your notches carved, they should look like this

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Then you soak them in water for at least an hour to soften the wood. Once they’ve soaked long enough, you take them out and gently bend them, then tie your dental floss from one set of notches to the other. This is where it all went wrong.

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I’ve successfully bent assorted pieces of would, but they need to be thinner than popsicle sticks apparently. Both sticks that I had soaking broke at the bending portion of the program.
I can’t reference the original pin because the link is no longer good. This is one sad Stevie today!
I may look for some thinner sticks to attempt this later.
Assuming you manage to make this work, you then cut one end off of your q-tips to make your ‘arrows’. Try to be adult about it and don’t use toothpicks!

Wear is the Gas Tank?

This one is a little easy peasy, but I didn’t know about this before. Tony didn’t either, which to me, translates to most people don’t know.
I need to start off by bragging, just a bit, that I got a new car today. It was a great deal, which is important because we don’t bring home gobs of money. It doesn’t have a ton of miles on it and it gets good gas mileage. It is a manual, so I had to take a refresher from my honey. Did well enough to drive home from the dealership, so I’ll be taking it to work tomorrow!

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It’s an 08 Kia Rio and just as adorable as my Civic! Sadly the Civic is slowly dying so we needed to replace it before it crashed and burned.
The tip for today is the following: How to tell where the gas goes in?

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Have you ever looked at your gas gauge and seen that cute little arrow on either side of the gas pump? Life hack! That arrow is telling you what side of the car has the tank opening! I’ve been driving for 10 years and did not know this!
Sadly, not all cars have this, my Civic for instance, but many cars do so this can be handy for rentals or just borrowing your friend’s car.
You’re welcome!
For this and other great life hacks, check out http://diyhshp.blogspot.com/2012/07/tips-tips-and-more-tips.html?m=1

Color Splash

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I’m a proud mama! She is such a good sport usually about pictures, but today I had to bribe her with candy. I get my pictures and she gets something sweet.  Win-win!
I started by putting her in a brightly colored tutu, which oddly enough came with a pj set, and a fitted tank top. I decided to leave her barefoot for the picture, she used to be terrified of grass and would not let her feet touch it, thankfully she got past thay. I carried her outside and tried to set her down, but she refused. This is where the bribery came in. Candy for cooperation.  She finally decided to cooperate and let me set her down. Then I told her to run away. She is a really fast runner for such a short person! I have the BEST PHOTO option on my amazing Samsung Galaxy S4. It takes 8 photos in rapid succession so you can get at least a few that are not blurred!
For more details on that product check out https://superstevied.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/samsung-galaxy-s4/
I ended up with a few I like, such as this

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A little cropping to get closer to her and then it was on to one of my favorite photo editing apps: ColorSplash Effect Pro. I have to thank my friend Jenna for introducing me to this app, back when I had my iPhone, because I have had a lot of fun with it.
This particular idea came from an image on Pinterest, where else?! Check out the inspiration for today’s photo shoot at http://m.flickr.com/photos/ayodele/2471907307/